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What's New in San Diego for Meeting Planners and Delegates

2023

Experience new and renovated hotels, restaurants, arts and culture venues, and more in America's Brightest City.

Meeting planners and delegates alike are always on the lookout for the "hot" destination to host and attend their next meetings. Recognized by the authoritative Meetings Information Network as one of the Top 3 meetings destinations nationwide in 2022, San Diego has everything meeting pros prize, and so much more!

From 18 great museums in Balboa Park — the cultural heart of San Diego — to restaurants serving global cuisine in 100 diverse and colorful neighborhoods, to more than 70 miles of sparkling coastline, San Diego continues to be recognized as one of the top nation's top destinations. And with the region's new hotels, venues and domestic/international flights, complemented by exciting additions to the destination's cultural and culinary scenes, meeting planners and delegates have all the right ingredients for a perfect San Diego meeting.

Here are some of the new developments and happenings to savor in San Diego in 2023:

Suite at the Kimpton Alma

Hotels

Hotel Del Coronado

With expansive meeting facilities situated right on a gorgeous beachfront, the Hotel del Coronado offers both a stunning seaside setting and an elegant experience for meetings and events. And that experience is now heightened with the completion of a $400 million re-envisioning, which includes an upgrade to the grand front entrance, the addition of 142 new luxury guest rooms and the addition of 29,000 square feet of event and meetings space. The latest arrival on the meetings side is the Southpointe Center, a state-of-the-art facility that opens onto a 14,000-square-foot Great Lawn with views of the hotel's historic Victorian architecture. Those updates arrive in tandem with the luxurious new guest experiences offered by the just-opened Shore House at The Del. In all, the hotel now offers more than 65,000 square feet of event space across the 28-acre property.

Kimpton Alma San Diego

The former Hotel Palomar has been treated to a $25 million, top-to-bottom remake, and is now the sleek Kimpton Alma San Diego. This inviting property at the northern gateway to the Gaslamp Quarter offers 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space, with 14 meeting rooms and available catering and event planning. The re-envisioning of the property, which is situated just a short walk from the Convention Center, took its cues from San Diego's identity as a border city, and includes three new dining options as well as a remake of the lobby, a fresh focus on wellness and brand-new looks for all 211 guest rooms and suites in the house.

Lafayette Hotel & Suites

North Park's charming Lafayette Hotel has seen a whole lot of San Diego history, from serving as a movie-star hangout in the 1940s to gaining fame as a "Top Gun" filming location in the ‘80s. Now the elegantly retro boutique hotel is set to reopen after a $26 million makeover courtesy of San Diego's high-profile Consortium Holdings. The property offers almost 11,000 square feet of event space, with eight meeting rooms hosting up to 764 people. And the hotel’s revamp brings a raft of new bars and restaurants, a live-music venue, even a throwback bowling alley.

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina / M Club

The Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina is now showing off the latest phase of a property-wide, multimillion-dollar renovation, with a trio of refreshed presidential suites as well as remodeling of the lobby, ballrooms and multiple restaurants. The hotel, just steps away from San Diego's stunning Embarcadero, also now hosts Marriott’s exclusive M Club, a private lounge that offers such amenities as enhanced continental breakfast, afternoon hors d'oeuvres and desserts, plus a variety of beverages. And the Marquis is a marquee destination for meetings and events, with more than 27,000 square feet of event space, 56 event rooms and a Grand Ballroom that can seat more than 3,700 attendees.

Orli La Jolla

Billing itself as "boutique hotel meets homestay," La Jolla's newest upscale stay is situated in an early-1900s building designed by the renowned San Diego architect Irving Gill. Siblings Hailey and Max Waitt are the duo behind this just-opened, 13-room seaside lodging, which seeks to combine traditional hotel amenities with a more private, easygoing feel.

Cormorant Hotel

La Jolla has been graced with another new boutique hotel in the Cormorant, a 26-room property just steps away from the community's charming Village district, and two blocks from the awe-inspiring oceanfront. In addition to its guest rooms, the Cormorant also hosts Prospect Market, a grab-and-go marketplace with fresh juices, snacks and beverages plus souvenirs from local businesses.

Meeting at UC San Diego Park and Market

Retail/Commerce/Recreation Developments

IQHQ

Coming soon to San Diego’s bayfront is the Research and Development District, a state-of-the-art science campus backed by $2.6 billion in funding and promising to turbocharge San Diego's biotech presence with 5.5 million square feet of life science research space. Developed by IQHQ, the Research and Development District (or RaDD, as the project is known) sits on 6 acres and will include a mix of midrise buildings and a 17-story tower, plus retail, restaurants, a public paseo, roof decks and green space with community access.

Horton Plaza reborn

The former shopping mall in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter is being transformed into an ambitious, multipurpose tech, retail, entertainment and residential hub. Now nearing completion, the reimagined Horton Plaza will take in 1 million square feet of space across 10 acres, and will include 50-60 shops (including a grocery store) as well as flexible office and research space.

UC San Diego Park & Market

This recently-opened, multipurpose facility in the East Village — with easy access to the San Diego Trolley's new UC San Diego Blue Line Extension — aims to be the premier meeting and event center in San Diego’s urban core. The gleaming 66,750-square-foot building boasts tech-ready executive conference rooms, a pair of theater/event spaces, an expansive outdoor terrace and more. The center not only can host a wide variety of meetings as well as cultural and community events, but it serves as a key home for university programs, providing broad access to education and advancement for those in the community.

Topgolf

San Diego may soon see not one but two Topgolf centers — the popular venues that combine a modern take on a driving range with food, drink and fun family activities. Owned by Carlsbad-based Callaway, Topgolf plans to develop a trilevel, 80-bay facility in Sorrento Valley on the site of the Carroll Canyon Golf Center, and another, potentially 100-bay center on East Harbor Island.

The Sound Del Mar Concert Hall

Entertainment Venues

The Sound Del Mar

Just a quick gallop from the grandstand at the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds is this 1,900-capacity concert venue, set to open in February 2023. Situated on the east side of the extensive fairgrounds property, The Sound will be operated by the same booking team behind the venerable and much-loved Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach.

UCSD debuts an amphitheater

With seating for more than 2,600 people, the new Epstein Family Amphitheater near the University of California San Diego's front entrance expands the city's already bountiful options for live performance. The flexible amphitheater is also just steps away from a San Diego Trolley station that serves the UCSD Blue Line Extension, which extends all the way to Downtown San Diego and connects with multiple other transit options.

Symphony re-envisions a venerable gem

A cornerstone of San Diego's arts and culture community, the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center — the San Diego Symphony's historic indoor performance home — is set to reopen in Fall 2023 after a $125 million renovation. The Downtown center's 1929-vintage Copley Symphony Hall has been outfitted with state-of-the-art digital sound and lighting and can seat up to 1,750. It serves as the ideal companion to The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the symphony’s stunning outdoor performance venue on the San Diego waterfront.

The bar at Kingfisher, with a ring of stools and brass accents

Restaurants

Addison

The elegant restaurant at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego's Carmel Valley was already the city's most celebrated dining destination — but in 2022 Addison earned the ultimate global dining honor of three Michelin stars. That makes the restaurant one of just a half-dozen in the entire state to boast the distinction, and the only one in Southern California. When you factor in San Diego's numerous other culinary honors (including three other Michelin-starred restaurants), it's clear why serious eaters need to make their way here.

Kingfisher

This rising star on San Diego's restaurant scene has earned serious notice from the Michelin organization, which added the Golden Hill establishment to its esteemed California Guide as a preferred place to dine. Kingfisher, which opened in 2022, specializes in Vietnamese/French cuisine fused with a California sensibility. Michelin's reviewers praised the restaurant's "terrific assortment of inventive cocktails, which serve as excellent complements to the mouth-watering menu of inspired Vietnamese cooking," and advised diners to "expect creative, ingredient-driven takes on classic dishes."

Death by Tequila

Tequila-centric food and drink are what it's all about for this Encinitas-based purveyor with the seriously tongue-in-cheek name. Now, Death by Tequila is going for a hat trick, as it gets set to open its third San Diego-area location, — this one in North Park. And it's a big one: The project is transforming a 5,400-square-foot former retail space into a 175-seat restaurant serving modern Mexican cuisine, and the new DBT digs also will boast a 75-seat bar.

Margaritaville Downtown

And speaking of tequila: The Hotel Solamar in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter will soon transform into the latest addition to the Margaritaville restaurant and hotel empire, inspired by Jimmy Buffett's ‘70s hit about the fabled "frozen concoction." The developers promise "signature Margaritaville food and beverage concepts" at the Downtown location, which is set to open in summer 2023 and will be joined in 2024 by a sister resort on San Diego's Mission Bay.

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